Dance Shoe 2012 (2012點子鞋) is the ninth in a series launched by Kaohsiung City Ballet’s (高雄城市芭蕾舞團) founder and director Chang Hsiu-ru (張秀如) to highlight the talent of southern Taiwan-born dancers and choreographers. The show, at Taipei’s Experimental Theater for three performances this weekend, will reportedly be the last in the series.
If it is, Dance Shoe will be going out on a high note, given the performance I saw in February at the Kaohsiung Cultural Center’s Chihshan Hall.
This year’s show features works by six choreographers: Wu Cheng-en (吳承恩), Ko Tzu-chun (柯姿君), Chang Chien-kuei (張堅貴), Lee Chih-da (李治達), Lai Hung-chung (賴翃中) and Dominique Yen (顏鳳曦).
Chang and Yen have created works for previous Dance Shoes. Their pieces, along with Wu’s, were also the highlight of what was, overall, a fairly strong show.
Yen’s piece, Dialogue (對話), was exactly that — a dialogue about ballet, delivered in a monologue by one woman, aided by two others who act out her stories and musings. As with previous pieces Yen has created for the series, this one is about a ballerina’s love/hate relationship with her craft, the daily workouts and the accoutrements, especially the tortuous toe shoes. The dramatic denouements are equally matched with the music, beginning with the O Fortuna segment from Carmina Burana and a snippet from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor.
Dialogue is perceptive and very funny, though not as broadly comic as Yen’s previous two pieces — and there is no danger of being hit by flying toe shoes.
Wu made an impression in last year’s show as a dancer. This year he showed that he is a young choreographer to watch. His Lathe (旋木), for five dancers, is a nice little piece, very light and lyrical, that gives each of the dancers lots of chances to highlight their abilities.
WHAT: Dance Shoe 2012
WHEN: Tomorrow at 2:30pm and 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: Experimental Theater (國家戲劇院實驗劇場), 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21-1號)
ADMISSION: Tickets are NT$450, available at NTCH box office or online at www.artsticket.com.tw and 7-Eleven ibon kiosks
Chang Chien-kuei’s Red Idea is a fun, rollicking follow-up to last year’s Harmony Symphony (諧．奏). A bit of hip-hop and acrobatics — handstands and flips — mixed in with some balletic pyrotechnics and playing around with a red table had the Kaohsiung audience screaming for more at the end.
Chang Hsiu-ru has provided her dancers, young choreographers and dance audiences with a great showcase since the inception of the Dance Shoe series. Here’s hoping that the program will be succeeded by something equally as ambitious.